Westchester Legislator Ken Jenkins, D-Yonkers, the former chairman of the Board of Legislators, is questioning the need for an expanded set of committees at the board and saying it was designed to boost legislators’ pay.
With the new board leadership of Chairman Michael Kaplowitz, D-Somers, and Vice-Chairman Jim Maisano, R-New Rochelle, who took over at the beginning of the new term this month, each of the 17 legislators was given either a leadership position or a committee chairmanship. Each comes with a stipend of at least $3,000.
Jenkins called them “back door pay increases for legislators,” in a press release Tuesday.
Most legislators will see $3,000 stipends. The exceptions are the chairmen of the Legislation and Budget committees, who will receive $9,000 stipends on top of the $49,200 base salary for legislators. The minority and majority leader will also receive $9,000 and the chairman gets $40,000.
Kaplowitz has said the new structure was a way to engage all the legislators more directly in the business of the board.
Jenkins said he declined his $3,000 stipend as chairman of the Federal and State Affairs Committee.
“At a time when the necessary focus is on shrinking government and increasing shared services as means of saving taxpayer dollars, the idea of expanding County government and creating new committees strikes me as being wasteful and counterproductive,” said Jenkins. “Some of the Board committees will have little to do and will not meet regularly as a result. The stipends to chair these committees appear to be back door pay increases for legislators.”